Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Skinny oven baked squash risotto

Skinny oven-baked squash risotto is a satisfying meatless weeknight meal or an easy but impressive side dish -- without all the stirring.

Skinny oven baked squash risotto

I never make risotto. Seriously: I made it once or twice and, with all the freakin' stirring and attention it required, I quickly removed it from my repertoire. No time for that.

Until now! I'm bringing risotto back because I found it can be easily baked in the oven, with very little stirring and even less attention.

Made with acorn squash, this skinny oven-baked squash risotto is satisfying and filling enough to stand alone as a meatless weeknight dinner entree, accompanied by a green salad. Because we are trying to eat more meatless meals around Casa de Ninj. But it also makes an easy but impressive side for a Sunday dinner.

And, of course, you could easily substitute butternut squash for the acorn, if butternut's more your jam.

Skinny oven baked squash risotto

Using beer as part of the cooking liquid gives this squash risotto excellent flavor -- just choose a lighter-colored beer. I don't think a heavy Guinness-like brew would work in this recipe (not to mention how it would affect the color).

Bringin' back risotto -- are you with me? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

Skinny oven baked squash risotto

Skinny Oven-Baked Squash Risotto

(inspired by Taste of Home)

1 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
Olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 small onion, diced
2 cups uncooked white rice (I used arborio)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pale ale or lighter-colored beer
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45-55 minutes or until flesh is tender. Cool the squash long enough so that you can handle it, then scrape the squash from the skin into a bowl and set it aside. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

While the squash is roasting, combine the broth and water in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and keep hot. In a Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion, cooking about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the rice and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the ale to the pot and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, then stir in 4 cups of the hot broth mixture (the remaining cup of broth no longer needs to be kept hot). Cover the Dutch oven and place it the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until almost all the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the dish from the oven. Add the butter, chili powder, nutmeg and remaining 1 cup of broth mixture. Stir until well blended, then stir in the roasted squash and cheese.

-- print recipe --


  1. Oooo! I am thinking sweet potatoes and curry spices would work with this! Toss in some cashews for protein.....

    1. Sounds like a great variation, Tess -- let me know how it turns out!